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Full text of "The christian life communities as sprung from the sodalities of Our Lady"

STUDIES 

in the Spirituality 

of Jesuits 




1. The Christian Life Communities 

as Sprung from 

the Sodalities of Our Lady 

George E. Ganss, S.J. 

2. A Specimen Copy of Communications 

from the International Service 

in Ignatian Spirituality, Rome 

Articles by 

Miss Jose Gsell 

Sister Franchise Vandermeersch 



Published by the American Assistancy Seminar on Jesuit Spirituality, 
especially for American Jesuits working out their aggiornamento 

in the spirit of Vatican Council II 

Vol. VII March, 1975 No. 2 



THE AMERICAN ASSISTANCE SEMINAR ON JESUIT SPIRITUALITY 

consists of a group of Jesuits from various provinces who are listed below. 
The members were appointed by the Fathers Provincial of the United States. 
The purpose of the Seminar is to study topics pertaining to the spiritual 
doctrine and practice of Jesuits, especially American Jesuits, and to com- 
municate the results to the members of the Assistancy. The hope is that 
this will lead to further discussion among all American Jesuits — in pri- 
vate, or in small groups, or in community meetings. • All this is done in 
the spirit of Vatican Council II' s recommendation to religious institutes 
to recapture the original charismatic inspiration of their founders and to 
adapt it to the changed circumstances of modern times. The members of the 
Seminar welcome reactions or comments in regard to the topics they publish. 

To achieve these purposes, especially amid today's pluralistic cultures, 
the Seminar must focus its direct attention sharply, frankly, and specifi- 
cally on the problems, interests, and opportunities of the Jesuits of the 
United States. However, many of these interests are common also to Jesuits 
of other regions, or to other priests, religious men or women, or lay men 
or women. Hence the studies of the Seminar, while meant especially for 
American Jesuits, are not exclusively for them. Others who may find them 
helpful are cordially welcome to read them. 

THE MEMBERS OF THE. SEMINAR ARE: 

Thomas E. Clarke, S.J., Gonzaga Renewal Center, Box 150, R.D. 2, Monroe, 
New York 10950 

William J. Connolly, S.J., Center for Religious Development, 42 Kirkland 
Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 

David L. Fleming, S.J., School of Divinity, St. Louis University, 3634 
Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, Missouri 63108 

William J. Fulco, S.J., Jesuit School of Theology, 1735 Le Roy Street, 
Berkeley, California 94709 

George E. Ganss, S.J., School of Divinity, St. Louis University (Chairman 
of the Assistancy Seminar and Editor of its Studies) His 
address is: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, Fusz Memorial, 
3700 West Pine Blvd., St. Louis, Missouri 63108. 

James J. Gill, S.J., 1575 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 

Charles E. O'Neill, S.J., Loyola University, New Orleans, Louisiana 70118 

Ladislas Orsy, S.J., Catholic University of America, Department of Canon 
Law, P. 0. Box 63, Washington, D.C. 20017 

John H. Wright, S.J., Jesuit School of Theology, 1735 Le Roy Street, 
Berkeley, California 94709 

Copyright, 1974, by the American Assistancy Seminar on Jesuit Spirituality 

Fusz Memorial, St. Louis University 
3700 West Pine Boulevard 
St. Louis, Missouri 63108 



STUDIES 

in the Spirituality 

of Jesuits 




1. The Christian Life Communities 

as Sprung from 

the Sodalities of Our Lady 

George E. Ganss, S.J. 

2. A Specimen Copy of Communications 

from the International Service 

in Ignatian Spirituality, Rome 

Articles by 

Miss Jose Gsell 

Sister Franchise Vandermeersch 



' 



Published by the American Assistancy Seminar on Jesuit Spirituality, 
especially for American Jesuits working out their aggiomamento 

in the spirit of Vatican Council II 

ol. VII March, 1975 No. 2 



CONTENTS 



Foreword on the Informational Character of This Issue 



Page 



1. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE COMMUNITIES AS SPRUNG FROM THE 

SODALITIES OF OUR LADY 45 

by George E. Ganss, S.J. 

I. THE SODALITIES OF OUR LADY, 1563-1966 45 

A. Foundation and Canonical Approval 45 

B. Growth in Jesuit and Non- Jesuit Institutions 46 

C. The "Common Rules" of 1587, 1855, 1910 47 

D. Variations in Observance 48 

II. TRANSITION TO THE CHRISTIAN LIFE COMMUNITIES, 1966-1971 50 

A. Directives on the Apostolate of the Laity 

from Council and Congregation 50 

B. Response from the World Federation of Sodalities 51 

C. Approval of the New General Principles by the Holy See 52 

D. Directives from Father General Pedro Arrupe 55 

III. DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE COMMUNITIES TODAY, 

ESPECIALLY IN THE UNITED STATES 55 

Footnotes 58 

2. A SPECIMEN COPY OF Communications FROM THE INTERNATIONAL SERVICE 

ON IGNATIAN SPIRITUALITY, ROME 59 

No. 2 A TESTIMONIAL TO THE CHRISTIAN LIFE COMMUNITIES 

AS A LAY MOVEMENT INSPIRED BY THE SPIRITUAL EXERCISES 3 

by Miss Jose Gsell, Rome 

No. 3 MY EXPERIENCE IN ACCOMPANYING RETREATANTS THROUGH 

THE SPIRITUAL EXERCISES 17 

by Sister Francoise Vandermeersch, Paris 

3. THE ORIGIN AND NATURE OF Communications 88 
List of Past Titles of Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits 94 



in 



Foreword on the Informational Character of This Issue 

The present issue of Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits can be con- 
sidered, in a way, to be chiefly informational. By incorporating within its 
covers a specimen copy of "Communications from the International Service in 
Ignatian Spirituality, Rome," it brings knowledge of this new series of mono- 
graphs to some Jesuit readers who might not otherwise see a copy. 

This issue is chiefly informational also in a second way. It will en- 
able Jesuits to see more concretely how their spiritual tradition, parti- 
cularly the Spiritual Exercises ., is being utilized by others, lay and reli- 
gious , men and women . 

Miss Gsell's article deals with the use of the Exercises in the new 
Christian Life Communities into which the age-old Sodalities of Our Lady 
have evolved since General Congregation XXXI. Some Jesuits whom we consult- 
ed felt themselves insufficiently informed about this young movement. Hence 
we thought it advisable to present, by way of background for Miss Gsell's 
article, a historical sketch. This would recall to mind the main facts in 
the history of the Sodalities {Congregationes Marianae) and also present the 
highlights of their evolution since 1966 into the Christian Life Communities 
(Communitates Vitae Christianae) . 

Sister Franchise Vandermeersch ? s article too deals with the Exercises. 
It furnishes an example of their use with religious women as directors — a 
practice suggested by St. Ignatius himself in a letter of June 19, 1555 
(text in De Guibert, The Jesuits: Their Spiritual Doctrine and Practice, 
p. 125). Back in the era of retreats preached to groups, extending roughly 
from the early seventeenth century through Vatican II, most of the retreats 
were conducted by priests. Since then, however, side by side with the 
preached group retreats which retain their value for many persons, the 
movement toward restoring the earlier procedure of St. Ignatius himself, 
retreats privately directed, has been steadily growing. In this work re- 
ligious women have been serving more and more as directors or as members 
of a team of directors. Sister Francoise's account of what she has been 
doing in this line for the past decade or more will help toward making many 
Jesuits better informed about what is occurring in this field; and it will 



enlighten and encourage other sisters who have been doing such work or are 
preparing for it. 

All the information in this issue, hopefully, will help Jesuit direc- 
tors or counselors to carry out with better understanding what General Con- 
gregation XXXI encouraged in its Decree 33, no. 6, on the Relationship of 
the Society to the Laity and Their Apostolate: ". . .we ought to help the 
laity in their apostolate. Jesuits should be prepared to offer their co- 
operation as counselors, assistants, or helpers in the works which the 
laity themselves promote and direct." That statement applies in great 
part not only to the laity but also to priests and religious who are draw- 
ing help from our spiritual tradition. 

The present writer wishes to express his deep gratitude to many who 
have helped him in the preparation of the introductory article on the So- 
dalities and their Evolution into the Christian Life Communities — particu- 
larly Miss Clare A. Summers, Associate Executive-Secretary of the National 
Federation of Christian Life Communities, and Rev. Jack J. Campbell, S.J., 
the National Moderator. Circumstances made it necessary to compose the 
article in a brief time; and without the material they furnished the writ- 
er could not have met his deadline. But he alone is responsible for any 
defects which appear in the presentation. 

George E. Ganss , S.J. 



VI 



THE CHRISTIAN LIFE COMMUNITIES AS SPRUNG FROM THE SODALITIES OF OUR LADY 

r 

by 

George E, Ganss, S.J. 

The Institute of Jesuit Sources 

St. Louis, Missouri 63108 

What, many Jesuits have wondered, has happened to the Sodalities of 
Our Lady? A decade or two ago one or more of them functioned in virtually 
every Jesuit high school, college, university, or parish. Also, in virtu- 
ally every scholasticate there were sodality "academies," where scholastics 
gained knowledge about this apostolate and even apprenticeship in it. We 
have heard that the sodalities have evolved into the Christian Life Commu- 
nities. But our ideas on all this remain rather vague. Busy with our own 
apostolates, we haven't been able to keep ourselves informed of the develop- 
ments. Are these new Christian Life Communities truly functioning? in the 
United States? 

The present paper will aim to answer such questions briefly by present- 
ing a bird's eye view of the historical highlights. The chief focus will 
be on the factual data and structures. The spirit or charism and its dyna- 
mism for today will emerge clearly below in Communis cation No. 2 by Miss Jose 
Gsell. 

I. THE SODALITIES OF OUR LADY, 1563-1965 

A. Foundation and Canonical Approval 

The Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary was founded by a Belgian scho- 
lastic, Jan Leunis, in 1563. Eager to foster his students' spiritual growth, 
he assembled the more zealous of them in a classroom of the Roman college 
during after-school hours for prayer and pious exercises, especially in 
honor of Mary. In 1564 there were seventy members. The group drew up a 
set of rules. Sodalities modelled on this group soon sprang up in Jesuit 
colleges throughout Europe, and the original group in Rome became known 
as the "first" or "head" or "central" congregation or sodality (Primaria 
Congregatio seu Primariaum Sodalitium) . As it became too large to meet in 
one classroom it was divided into three sections : the Prima primaria^ the 
"first head or central" sodality, for the young men over 21, the Seounda 
primaria for those 14 to 21, and the Tertia primaria for those below 14. 



46 



By the bull Omnipotentis Dei of December 5, 1584, Pope Gregory XIII canon- 
ically erected the Prima primaria as a congregation or sodality, granted 
it numerous indulgences, and conferred on the Jesuit general power to erect I 
other similar congregations and affiliate them to the Prima primaria [oon- 
gregatio] , the "First Principal [Congregation]." In that era the terms 
congregation, sodality, and confraternity were often used as synonyms to 
designate a body of the faithful, especially non-religious, who aimed to 

foster Catholic life by means of special exercises, and were governed by an 

, . . , . 1 
ecclesiastical superior. 

B. Growth in Jesuit and Non-Jesuit Institutions 

Sodalities affiliated to the Prima primaria grew rapidly in number, 
and soon existed in connection with virtually all Jesuit colleges, churches, 
and residences in Europe and the Americas. They were groups of persons 
seriously cultivating their personal interior lives and apostolic activities. 
By 1580 there were some 30,000 members of affiliated sodalities. In 1586 
Pope Sixtus V permitted membership to others than students. In the "Golden 
bull" of September 27, 1748, Benedict XIV enlarged the privileges and in- 
dulgences; and in a brief of September 8, 1751, he granted the Jesuit gen- 
eral authority to affiliate with the Prima primaria any sodality of either 
sex which was connected with a Jesuit house or church. Between the sup- 
pression and restoration of the Society (1773-1814) the sodalities were 
kept in existence by the pope and zealous pastors. In 1824 Leo XII re- 
stored to the Jesuit general his former powers in regard to sodalities. 
In 1825 the same pope granted the general faculties to affiliate to the 
Prima primaria^ with the consent of a bishop involved, sodalities which 
were outside of Jesuit institutions. Thereafter growth of the movement 
was steady and rapid. In the United States alone, for example, 55 sodalities 
were affiliated up to 1854, 178 in the decade 1854-1864, 304 in 1864-1874, 
589 in 1874-1884, 1,124 in 1884-1894, 1,368 in 1894-1904, 1,758 in 1904- 
1914, 2,357 in 1914-1926. In the world at large, some 35,000 new sodalities 
were affiliated to the Prima primaria within fifty years after the defini- 
tion of the Immaculate Conception in 1848. In 1963, about 85,000 sodalities 

2 
in more than 1,300 dioceses were on the list of affiliates. 



47 



C. The "Common Rules" of 1587, 1855, 1910 

The multiplication of sodalities after 1563 led many to desire uniform 
directives and norms, which would, moreover, facilitate the granting of 
further indulgences and other privileges by the Holy See. Early in his 
generalate Claudio Aquaviva took steps in this direction. Then in 1578 he 
promulgated the Regutae communes _, rules applying or "common" to all the so- 
dalities. In eight chapters they treated such matters as the nature of 
the sodalities, their purpose, exercises of piety, manner and criteria of 
admission, meetings, officers and their duties, and government. These rules 
remained in force until the suppression of the Society in 1773. After the 
restoration, they were revised and promulgated anew in 1855 by Father General 
Beckx for Jesuit and non- Jesuit sodalities. Some of the statutes of 1587 
were dropped and others added; but about 115 are much the same in both 
documents . 

Sodalities flourished in Spain in the latter nineteenth century and 
thus developed rules of their own, composed largely from those of 1587 and 
1855. In 1909 Father General Wernz assembled fourteen Jesuit experts from 
many countries, who examined and revised all preceding rules and then drew 
up a new set which he promulgated on December 8, 1910. They are written 

in the form of a legal code with an improved logical order, and are more 

3 
clear and precise than any which preceded them. 

These Common Rules of 1910 comprise the set familiar to American so- 

dalists since then, and especially to Jesuits who were engaged in sodality 

work in Jesuit schools between about 1930 and 1965. They will recall many 

memories through citation here of a few of these rules which reveal much of 

the sodalities 1 spirit. 

1. Sodalities of Our Lady are religious associations approved 
by the Holy See. They organize Catholics under Our Lady's name 
and cultivate in them a deep devotedness, reverence, and filial 
love for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Under the patronage of the Mother 
of God, Sodalities of Our Lady aim at making their members outstand- 
ing Catholics who give themselves wholeheartedly to sanctifying them- 
selves in their own states of life and strenuously endeavor, as far 
as their social conditions permit, to save and sanctify others and 
to defend the Church of Jesus Christ against the attacks of its 
enemies . 

9. Sodalists shall spend some days each year in making the 
Spiritual Exercises. . . . 



48 



34. Sodalists shall be very diligent in performing those 
religious exercises which are particularly necessary for a fer- 
vent life. The daily exercises are the following: 

Every morning, on rising, Sodalists shall make acts of faith, 
hope, and charity, give thanks to the Divine Majesty for benefits 
received, offer to God their labors of the day, make an intention 
to gain all possible indulgences that day, and say at least three 
Hail Mary's in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

They shall set aside and spend at least a quarter of an hour 
in mental prayer. 

If possible, they are to participate in the Sacrifice of the 
Mass. 

They shall recite the Rosary or an office of the Blessed 
Virgin Mary. 

In the evening, before retiring, they are to examine their con- 
science carefully and make a fervent act of contrition for all the 
sins of their life and especially for any committed that day.^ 

D. Variations in Observance 

Great variations of practice in the manner of observing the Common 
Rules were much to be expected in four centuries of history with such vast 
numbers of sodalities and sodalists. Two poles often in tension were the 
number of sodalists and the quality of their spiritual practice. Often 
when either pole waxed in attention received, the other waned. During 
the last few decades of the nineteenth century and the first few of the 
twentieth, the Church was stressing monthly corporate Mass and communion 
for the laity. Sodalities were widely used to promote this movement, es- 
pecially in the United States; and often the corporate Mass and communion 
sufficed in practice as the criteria for membership. This was something 
different from the daily exercises fostered in the rules of 1587 and 1910. 
But the Holy Spirit works in and through large numbers too; and immense 
good was donsi through these widespread sodalities. 

To make the new rules of 1910 more effective, Father Wernz in 1913 
asked the Jesuits to inaugurate sodality magazines in their various countrie 
Thus the Queen's Work was established in St. Louis with Father Edward F. 
Garasche as editor. In 1925 Fr. Daniel A. Lord was assigned to this post, 
in the hope that he could use his remarkable talents to impart a new life 
to the sodality movement throughout the nation. Unusually alert to the 
mentality and spiritual needs of American youth and to social issues, he 



49 



achieved remarkable success. He presented the sodality as a challenge and 
a way of life aimed to bring oneself and one's neighbor to God. In 1929 he 
organized the National Parish Sodality Advisory Board, which became a step 
toward national sodality unity. He started a series of pamphlets and other 
publicatons, of which the total sales were over 25,000,000 by 1963. In 1931, 
in response to Pius XI f s call to Catholic Action, he founded the travelling 
Summer Schools of Catholic Action, which by 1963 had registered almost 300,000 
participants. 

All this provided in the United States a widespread fertile soil in 
which the seeds of a new movement toward quality could take root. A great 
impetus toward such a movement came in Bis saeculavi , the apostolic consti- 
tution on the sodalities issued by Pius XII on September 27, 1948. It 
praised and urged anew the Common Rules of 1910. In 1953 Pius XII also 
juridically established the World Federation of Sodalities, to secure their 
more effective cooperation in the lay apostolate throughout the world. A 
Jesuit experienced in sodality work, Father Louis A. Paulussen, was named 
Director of this World Federation, which now had its secretariat at Borgo 
Santo Spirito 8, Rome. These encouraging efforts of the Holy Father re- 
ceived hearty support from Father General Janssens. In response to directives 
from their general, many Jesuits threw themselves wholeheartedly from 1948 to 
1965 into efforts to conduct sodalities according to Bis saeculavi and the 
Common Rules of 1910. 

They achieved some notable success. But they encountered discouraging 
difficulties, too, which grew as the years passed by. More and more during 
the 1950s many who had worked zealously and sincerely to promote sodalities 
according to Bis saeculari made remarks along the following lines. The Com- 
mon Rules seem to be rules of a religious institute, not well adapted to 
lay life in our day. They urge practices which some sodalists take up sin- 
cerely for a few months or occasionally years, but then drop under the pres- 
sures of daily living. We profess to be training young persons during high 
school or university to a way of living which is to be continued for the 
rest of their lives. But it is a way of living which usually requires 
that they "pray together, work together, and play together"; and most of 
them will live after graduation in places where no adult sodality exists. 



50 



Even in cities where many high school and university sodalities produced 
well-trained sodalists, a central adult sodality for them after graduation 
met insuperable opposition. Pastors feared that any such group would draw 
these zealous young persons away from the activities of their own parishes. 

Difficulties arose, too, from the word "rules." In countries where 
the Latin tradition of law was part of the culture, the word was subcon- 
sciously interpreted to mean a directive enshrining an ideal, something 
encouraging even if only partly attainable in practice. But in countries 
with the Anglo-Saxon legal tradition, many directors interpreted "rule" as 
a precept to be fulfilled literally under penalty of exclusion or expulsion; 
and this was discouraging to those who found themselves unable to observe a 
rule in all its details. After a year or two many sodalists, directors, and 
sodalities gave up. The National Federation of Sodalities began a revision I 
of the Common Rules in 1959 but postponed it to await possible guidance 
from the forthcoming Vatican Council II. 

II. TRANSITION TO THE CHRISTIAN LIFE COMMUNITIES, 1966-1971 

A. Directives on the Apostolate of the Laity 
from Council and Congregation 

Then came Vatican Council II, with its decrees which urged that in- 
creased initiative and responsibility be given to the laity in the aposto- 
late of the Church (for example, the Church, nos . 31, 33; the Church Today, 
nos . 36, 43; the Apostolate of the Laity, nos. 3, 9, 71). There came also 
Jesuit General Congregation XXXI, 1965-1966. Some delegates initiated ef- 
forts and preliminary drafts toward reaffirming but renewing the Sodalities 
(Congregationes Marianae) , more or less according to the Rules of 1910, 
as an important Jesuit ministry. Although no separate document on the So- 
dalities survived the committee work, mention of them was made in two other J 
documents which reflected the spirit of the Council on giving more initiativi 
to the Laity. 

Decree 27 on Pastoral Services urged superiors, in no. 11, to insist 

2 that the directors of works sincerely adapt themselves to 
contemporary pastoral practice, for example, ... in the coopera- 
tion of Jesuits with a program of renewal of the sodalities (Congre- 
gationes Marianae) or the Apostleship of Prayer in those regions 



51 



where the bishops and major superiors, having first listened to the 
lay directors, decide in fraternal harmony to renew them so that 
they may be more effectively promoted. 

Decree 33 on the Relationship of the Society to the Laity and Their 

Apostolate stated: 

5. By means of special instruction and spiritual direction 

we should communicate to those who can profit by it a fuller under- 
standing of the evangelical life according to the Exercises of St. 
Ignatius, which are also well suited to the lay state. Thus they 
may be able to direct all the acts of their daily professional, 
familial, and social life with a sincere mind and increased liberty 
to the greater glory of God, and may be able to discover and ful- 
fill the divine will in all things and in this way devote themselves 
entirely to the service of their brothers as well. This direction 
is expected of us especially by the rejuvenated sodalities (Congre- 
gationes Marianae renovatae) and the various other associations of 
laymen who are trying to cultivate an intense Christian and apostolic 
life according to this spirit. 

6. On the other hand, we ought to help the laity in their 
apostolate. 

. . . We must open up to them in various ways wide participa- 
tion in as well as responsibility for the direction, administration, 
and even government of our works, keeping of course the power of 
ultimate decision in the hands of the Society where it has the ul- 
timate responsibility. 






In the same spirit, . . . let the Society examine whether some 
works begun by us might be turned over to competent laymen for the 
greater good of the Church. . . . 

B. Response from the World Federation of Sodalities 
These pronouncements of Vatican II and General Congregation XXXI 
found attentive disciples in the officers, staff, and members of the World 
Federation of Sodalities, who soon devised worldwide consultations to im- 
plement them. Back in 1587, 1855, and 1910 ecclesiastics had composed the 
Rules, obtained papal approval of them, and handed them down to the di- 
rectors and lay members for execution. Why not try now, with this guidance 
from Vatican II and General Congregation XXXI, to reverse this direction? 
The Roman office of the World Federation, and also the secretariats of 
many national federations such as the Association Vie Chvetienne in Paris 
or the National Federation of Sodalities in St. Louis, initiated many meet- 
ings to have the lay sodalists, with counsel from their ecclesiastical 



52 



moderators, work out directives which they found to be better adjusted to 
their lay circumstances, have them approved, after sufficient elaboration, 
by the Holy Father, and thus gain better cooperation from all the members 
in the task of implementation. The movement was to become truly lay with 
autonomy, but the Society would give it help and inspiration. 

Hence from 1966 onward these sodalists held many meetings, in a spirit 
of communal discernment drawn from the Ignatian Exercises, toward renewing 
the spirit and structure of the Sodalities. The participants tried to keep 
the ancient spirit and tradition but make them more effective in the post- 
conciliar world. 

A draft of a new set of directives was approved in an international 
meeting of the World Federation in Rome, October 19-21, 1967, and submitted 
shortly later to the Holy See for approval. In this draft the former title, 
Sodalities of Our Lady (Congregattones Marianae) was changed to Christian 
Life Communities (Communztates Vitae Chrzstianae) , and the name Common Rules 
(Regulae communes) to General Principles and Statutes of the Christian Life 
Communities (Principia generalia et Statuta) . The World Federation of So- 
dalities became the World Federation of Christian Life Communities. 

C. Approval of the New General Principles 

Already on March 25, 1968, a letter came from the Secretariat of 
State of the Vatican, addressed by A. G. Cardinal Cicognani to Bishop Rene 
Audet, Ecclesiastical Assistant to the World Federation of Christian Life 
Communities. The letter approved the new Principles for experimental use 
during three years. Then Pope Paul VI gave definitive approval on May 31, 
1971. 

The spirit and some history of these new communities can perhaps be 
best given, for present purposes, by a few citations from official docu- 
ments. Cardinal Cicognani' s letter of March 25, 1968, states: 

After the meeting of the General Council of the World Federa- 
tion of Marian Congregation, held at Rome, October 19-21, 1967, the 
Secretariat of your Federation sent to the Secretariat of State. . . 
a petition to obtain from the Holy Father the approval of the new 
General Principles proposed to replace the Common Rules of 1910, 
and also his approval of the new Statutes of the World Federation. 

With the desire to give better service to the Church, it was 



53 



explained to us, and also to renew their association according 
to the spirit and norms of Vatican Council II, the members of the 
World Federation of Marian Congregations have perceived the need 
of proposing to the Holy See some modifications, some of them basic, 
in order that their association, while faithfully preserving the 
authentic riches of its tradition, could devote itself more simply 
and effectively to the service of God and men in the world of to- 
day .... 

Some of these proposals touched on certain norms of the Apostolic 
Constitution B-is saeculari, promulgated by Pope Pius XII on Septem- 
ber 27, 1948. This Constitution had foreseen neither the founda- 
tion of the World Federation which took place in 1953 nor the juri- 
dical effects which arose from it. Moreover, the traditional struc- 
tures confirmed in the Constitution Bis saeeulari, had gradually lost 
their original significance. 



Always in that same desire of better service, the participants 
in the meeting of the General Council preferred to adopt the new 
name of "World Federation of Christian Life Communities." They were 
convinced that this name communicated better the reality and internal 
dynamism of their association, without losing any of its specific 
elements . 

These General Principles and Statutes have been the object of 
diligent examination by the Holy See. I am happy now to be able 
to inform you of the confirmation and approval of these documents 
by Pope Paul VI, for experimental use during three years, in the 
texts attached to this present letter. All the earlier rules and 
prescriptions which are in conflict with these General Principles 
and new Statutes are by this fact abrogated. . . . 

These General Principles are arranged in the form of a preamble and 

four main parts. Something of the spirit running through them can be shown 

o 

by a few citations from the version of 1971 for the United States. 
Preamble 

2. Our movement is a way of Christian Life, not a rigid or- 
ganization. These GENERAL PRINCIPLES are to be interpreted more in 
the spirit of the Gospel and the interior law of love than by the 
strict letter of the text. . . . 

PART ONE. AIM AND CHARACTERISTICS 

i. Aim of Christian Life Communities 

3. Christian Life Communities aim to develop and sustain men 
and women, adults and youth, who commit themselves to the service of 
the Church and the world in every area of life: family, work, profes- 
sional, civil, and ecclesial. Our communities are for all who feel 
the urgent need to unite their human life in all its dimensions with 
the fulness of their Christian faith. . . . 



54 



ii. Sources of Spirituality 

4. The spirituality of Christian Life Communities is centered 
on Christ and a participation in the paschal mystery; it draws its 
strength from the Sacred Scriptures, the liturgy, the doctrinal dev- 
elopment of the Church, and God's revelation of Himself in the needs 
of our time. We hold the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius as 

a specific source of our spirituality. 

iii. Sense of the Church 

5. Union with Christ expresses itself in union with the Church 
where Christ is here and now continuing His mission of salvation. By 
learning constantly to be sensitive to the signs of the times and the 
movements of the Spirit, we become better able to encounter Christ 

in all men and all situations. . . . 

iv. Bond of Community 

6. ... In our Christian Life Communities, the members provide 
for each other a concrete experience of unity in love and action. . . . 

v. Apostolic Life 

7. We have received, as the people of God, the mission of being 
witnesses to Christ in our attitudes, words, and actions among men. 

. . . We are convinced that ... we must give priority to our 
commitment to renew and sanctify the temporal order. . . . 

PART TWO. THE WAY OF LIFE 

Adult Christian Life Communities . . . 

Youth Christian Life Communities . . . 

The Way of Life 

12. The way of life of a Christian Life Community commits its 
member to seek, with the help of the community, a continuing, personal 
development that is spiritual, apostolic, and human. In practice this 
involves : 

a) frequent, and even daily, participation in the Eucharistic 
Sacrifice and an intense sacramental life; daily practice of personal 
prayer, especially prayer based on Sacred Scripture; . . . 

b) active involvement in the service of mankind by dedicating 
one's personal talents and professional skills to the renewal of the 
institutions of society in accord with truth and justice, especially 
in the struggle for truth and justice among the poor and oppressed; 

c) the individual's responsibility to contribute to the meet- 
ing and activities of his community, . . . 

PART THREE. JURIDICAL NORMS 

17. All genuine Christian Life Communities possess three qualify- 
ing marks: a special bond with the hierarchy, affiliation to a federati 



55 



that is a member of the World Federation of Christian Life Commu- 
nities, observance of the General Principles. 

PART FOUR. STATUTES FOR THE WORLD FEDERATION OF CHRISTIAN LIFE 
COMMUNITIES 

Membership 

Article 1. The World Federation, which has its center in Rome, 
is a union of national federations and federation groups which accept 
the General Principles as guiding norms for their activities. 

The entire text of the principles and ample commentary on them is 
available in a volume by Father Francis K. Drolet, S.J., New Communities 
for Christians (New York: Alba House, 1972). The 396 pages of this inspir- 
ational volume "serve," as the publisher T s verb states, "as a handbook in 
the reorganization of the Christian Life Communities formerly known as so- 
dalities. " 

D. Directives from Father General Pedro Arrupe 

A few months after the approval of the new General Principles by the 

Holy See, Father General Pedro Arrupe sent directives to the whole Society, 

9 

encouraging Jesuit participation in this work. For the past two centuries, 

he pointed out, these "Marian Congregations or Communities of Christian Life" 
are a ministry not of the Society alone but of the Church at large. Never- 
theless it is a work highly proper to the Society, in regard to those so- 
dalities which we conduct in some institutions of our own and those others 
which we ought to aid by "inspiration, example, and various kinds of coop- 
eration." The aim in preparing these new General Principles has been to 
foster the qualitative improvement sought by Pius XII by enriching it with 
the doctrinal and pastoral spirit of Vatican Council II. The Christian 
Life Communities are now autonomous. But major superiors ought to supply, 
after consultation with officers of the Communities, trained and capable 
Jesuit helpers, who should know the history, documentation, and genuine 
character of this movement. 

III. DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE COMMUNITIES TODAY , 
ESPECIALLY IN THE UNITED STATES 

How are the new Christian Life Communities faring now? They seem to 
be in a stage of early but solid, promising growth. They truly are lay 



56 



groups cultivating intensive and apostolic lives, currently located in forty 
countries. A World Congress of the CLCs will be held in Manila in 1976. 

Bishop Rene Audet of Joliet, Quebec, Canada is the Ecclesiastical As- 
sistant to the Holy Father for the World Federation of the Christian Life 
Communities, and the Vice-Ecclesiastical Assistant is Father Nicholas H. 
Rieman, S.J. From his office at Borgo Santo Spirito 8, Rome, comes Pro- 
gression edited by Miss Jose Gsell. It is published in English, French, 
and Spanish. 

In the United States, the offices of the National Federation of Chris- 
tian Life Communities are located at 3109 South Grand Boulevard, St. Louis, 
Missouri, in property owned formerly by the Queen's Work and now by the 
American Assistancy. Most Reverend Maurice J. Dingman, Bishop of Des Moines, 
is the Episcopal Moderator. Father Jack J. Campbell, S.J., is the National 
Moderator pro tern, and Father Francis K. Drolet, S.J., is the Religious Na- 
tional Promoter for Jesuits. Mr. Tim J. Rouse of Omaha, Nebraska, is the 
President, Mr. John R. Brown the First Vice-President, Mrs. Thomas Murtagh 
the Secretary, Mr. Frederick A. Hodes the Treasurer, and Miss Marie A. 
Schimelfening the Executive Secretary who carries on the day to day work 
in the St. Louis office. 

This office issues, among other publications, the organ of the American 
federation, the Christian Life Communicatory a monthly of eight pages in 
tabloid form. Volume 8, No. 10 (November, 1974) lists, on pages 5 and 6, 
the titles and addresses of the affiliated CLCs in the United States. They 
number 139, located in 44 dioceses. Most of them are in parishes. But at 
least five are in Jesuit high schools (in Baltimore, Dallas, Fall River, 
Houston, and Scranton) , and six are in Jesuit colleges or universities (in 
Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, Mobile, Philadelphia, and Santa Clara). Other 
sample titles of interest here are Alumni Fordham University, New York Pro- 
fessional-Loyola, John XXIII Professional (in St. Louis), Santa Clara Pro- 
fessional, Catholic Alumni of the Holy Cross College (in Worcester). Many, 
but far from all, of the 139 affiliated communities have Jesuit chaplains. 
In addition, some fifty to seventy-five new CLCs are in process of forma- 
tion on high school, college, and adult levels. 



57 



The Liberation for Each Person and All Peoples now constitutes an im- 

r 

portant international theme for the world movement of the CLCs . In the 
United States workshops and study days are being organized to help the mem- 
bership experientially feel and know the implications of this theme of lib- 
eration. 

An example in point is the Tenth Biennial Convention of U.S. Christian 
Life Communities, which will be held August 13-17, 1975, at the University 
of Massachusetts, Amherst. The theme will be: Reconciliation and Libera- 
tion through Christian Community. The office of the National Federation 
of CLCs offers to those who wish, prior to the convention itself, indiv- 
idually directed authentic Ignatian Spiritual Exercises which will be con- 
ducted at nearby Mt. Holyoke. Right after these retreats but still prior 
to the convention, there will be a formation course of about a week for 
CLC members. These retreats and the subsequent course will be patterned 
on procedures used with some 105 retreatants from 31 countries by the World 
Federation of CLCs in Rome in 1973. The gist of the course consists in 
prayerful and reflective discussion of the living out of the Exercises for 
the CLC way of life — much as Miss Jose Gsell describes in her article pre- 
sented below. 

After the foregoing historical sketch, the spirit or charism which 
animates these new Christian Life Communities will now, we hope, be more 
concretely perceptible in her article, Communication 2. 



58 



FOOTNOTES 

1 On these matters, see Eldar Mullan, S.J., The Sodality of Our Lady 
Studied in the Documents (New York, 1912), esp. pp. 2, 7, 8, 5*, 9*; 
Catholic Encyclopedia (1912) , XIV, 128 (henceforth abbreviated as 
CathEnc) ; De Guibert, S.J., The Jesuits: Their Spiritual Doctrine 
and Practice j pp. 295-301, 500-504, and the Index, s. v. Sodalities. 

2 CathEnc, XIV, 128; Mullan, pp. 130*-131*; B. Wolf, S.J., The So- 
dality Movement in the United States 3 1926-1936, p. 21; New Cath- 
olic Encyclopedia (1967, hereafter abbreviated as N CathEnc) , XIII, 
409. 

3 Mullan, pp. 26-31, 24*-42*; 277*-291*. 

4 Cited from The Common Rules: Sodalities of Our Lady (St. Louis: The 
Queen's Work, 1957). 

5 NCathEnc, VIII, 990; XIII, 409; W. B. Faherty, S.J., "A Half-Century 
of the Queen's Work," Woodstock Letters, XCII (1963), 99-114. 

6 Acta Romana Societatis Iesu 3 XV (1968), 191-201. 

7 Ibid., XV (1968), 191. 

8 General Principles: Christian Life Communities (St. Louis, 63118: Na- 
tional Federation of Christian Life Communities, 3109 South Grand, 
1971). 

9 Acta Romana S.I., XV (1968), 321-327. 

10 Acta Romana S.I. y XV (1968), 321-322. 

11 Ibid., p. 327; XVI (1973), 71-72. 



PLEASE NOTE 



> 



Pages i-iv and 1-25 of Communications 

are equivalently 
pages 61-89 of Vol. VII, No. 2 of 
Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits